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Applying For � And Getting � That Six Sigma Job
There is a growing demand for people with Six Sigma certification and expertise as companies realize the many ways in which the Six Sigma methodology can help their organizations grow and improve. Six Sigma has grown beyond its manufacturing origins with many government agencies and service providers now advertising for Six Sigma help. More importantly, even small companies are taking on Six Sigma consultants or full-time staff, which implies that the demand for Six Sigma professionals will only increase in the coming years.
Six Sigma Job Categories
There are many junior- and senior-level Six Sigma openings across a wide range of industries. The positions and job descriptions are oftentimes unique to the company and its requirements. Admittedly, many of these positions are filled internally, as companies train their own people in the Six Sigma methodology so that people already familiar with the corporate culture are provided with the needed skill sets. On the other hand, these same organizations often reach outside for help, seeking out experienced people to either lead, or implement full-scale Six Sigma projects throughout the company.
Six Sigma Job Openings
Many companies openly advertise job opportunities that are clearly Six Sigma based (e.g., Six Sigma Analyst or Six Sigma Black Belt). Others, however, advertise openings for positions that are not obviously Six Sigma openings such as Functional Project Lead, Director of Operational Excellence, Business Project Manager, or Senior Projects Manager.
Job openings such as these are usually for people with Six Sigma Black Belt capabilities � someone trained in the Six Sigma methodology with experience in leading cross-functional process improvement teams. These people are tapped to lead individual Six Sigma teams.
Companies sometimes advertise for Six Sigma Master Black Belts to fill organization-wide Six Sigma program manager positions, in effect taking over very senior positions within the organization. The successful applicants will be tasked to lead the company�s Six Sigma implementation, oversee Black Belts and process improvement projects, and guide the Black Belts as needed. These positions will require the highest level of Six Sigma experience and qualifications.
Meeting Six Sigma Job Criteria
The primary requirement for a Six Sigma job is, of course, to be trained in the Six Sigma methodology, ideally as a Six Sigma Black Belt. This requires formal training from qualified Six Sigma consultants who have long experience in training and implementation of Six Sigma. Often, a request is made for those with a specific background such as in Six Sigma DMAIC or DFSS methodology.
Companies recognize experience as being the best teacher, however, so many establishments express strong preference (if not outright demand) for people with hands-on experience in completing at least one Six Sigma project.
Aside from Six Sigma training and project experience, companies have a preference for those with background experience (usually at least five years) in their particular industry or business. Management experience is another plus factor and this is usually a requirement by companies looking for a Six Sigma project team leader. Managing projects within structured environments, and proven management skills (as indicated by successful project implementation) will be a definite advantage in your favor, because companies in the initial stages of Six Sigma application will be looking for people who will lead and facilitate business teams as well as Black Belts and Green Belts through the process.
If you are applying for a Six Sigma position, you need to show that you have an excellent understanding of processes and quality methodologies as well as a willingness to grab the initiative and take the lead in making changes.
Another vital skill will be the ability to link strategy to execution. You need to show that you are able to look beyond surface issues and concerns: consider strategic business issues from a detached, clinical perspective, and use this as a springboard for developing and implementing creative and practical solutions to problems identified.
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